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News > Colombia

Riot Police Are Not Excessively Violent, Colombia's Govt. Says

  • The banner reads,

    The banner reads, "Who gave the order to murder young people in Bogota?", Colombia, Sept. 21, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @DonIzquierdo_

Published 24 September 2020

Supreme Court judges stated that the anti-riot police are a "serious and real" threat to those who protest peacefully.

Colombia’s Defense Minister Carlos Trujillo Wednesday rejected the ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) which concluded that the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) has systematically carried out violent and arbitrary actions against citizens.


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On Sept. 22, the CSJ ordered Trujillo to apologize for the excesses his security forces committed in the demonstrations that thousands of citizens staged in Nov. 2019.

Nevertheless, President Ivan Duque's defense minister did not comply with that provision arguing that ESMAD, as an institution, does not incur excesses while executing repressive actions.

"The cases in which there may have been some excess would correspond to individual actions performed by some officials who did not observe the Constitution, law, regulations, and protocols," Trujillo said.

The meme reads, "There is a lot of dignity in the Colombian people. Thank you very much human rights defenders for saving this citizen from the blatant ESMAD's violence."

The evidence presented by citizens through social networks, however, testifies to the contrary. In one of the most obvious cases of human rights violations, Dilan Cruz was killed with a “bean bag” projectile fired from a 12-gauge shotgun used by ESMAD officers.

Although the Supreme Court ordered that this type of weapon not be used, the Colombian police maintain that it is rather a “low-lethality” weapon.

The judges also stated that the ESMAD is a "serious and real" threat to those who protest peacefully given that its officers disproportionately use force and are unaware of the procedures they must comply with.

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